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The course takes a look at the hardware and software issues behind field shooting: assessing storage and backup needs, evaluating GPS geotagging options, surveying power and charging issues, and more. After discussing each of the components, Ben shows how they fit together in different field setups, ranging from an extravagant laptop-based system to a no-computer setup that backs up photos to a compact digital wallet device. The course also spotlights some workflow strategies to consider when you get home, from transferring photos to merging them with a larger photo library.
- Selecting the right gear, from cameras to bags
- Bringing the right battery and storage equipment
- Packing your camera bag
- Getting to the destination with heavy equipment
- Unpacking and setting up the gear
- Geotagging photos on location
- Downloading manuals for convenient access in the field
- Wrapping up a shoot
- Unpacking and transferring images to an editing workstation
Skill Level Intermediate
Obviously there are a lot of other things that you probably need to take with you on a long trip, like clothing, things like that. There are some little odds and ends and little bits of miscellaneous gears that can be helpful too. Now, some of these are photography-related, and some of these are things that you might you consider because they just work well with other gears that you have with you and they are nice to have around. You're going to need a card reader if you're taking a computer or a tablet or some other device. The main thing is to we bear in mind that you've got a card reader that supports all of the formats that you have with you. So if you're taking an SLR and point-and- shoot you may have different formats.
Now your laptop computer may already have, say, an SD card reader in it. If you're also carrying an SLR that uses compact flash, then you'll want a CF reader. You used to need to worry about the speed of card readers, but these days they're all pretty much speedy USB2.0 readers. If you're using an older reader. you may want to update. It's nice having these multifunction readers just because if you change cameras at some place along the line, you know you've got a reader for it. And obviously you need the cable that goes with it. If you are working with a tablet, like the iPad, then you need a special camera connection kit for that, and that's available from Apple.
Just look into that. They're easy to find in any place that sells iPad accessories. If you're taking an SLR, then you need to think about the possibility of a dirty sensor. A dirty sensor can leave spots in your images, smudges in your images, things like that. Sensor cleaning as beyond the scope of this course. You can learn more about it in my landscape photography course, Photoshop CS5 for Landscape Photographers. Typically sensor cleaning involves a few different tools: a blower and special sensor cleaning brushes and equipment. This is one of the visible dust selections.
I really like their gear. It's small, it's very light and it's easy enough to take with you. It's especially important to take this if you think you're going somewhere that's going to be prone to sensor dust. If you're going to be in the desert a lot, if you're doing wilderness shooting, then you may want to think about some sensor-cleaning gear. Now, some of this stuff, again, as I said, is not directly photo-related. If you're planning some night shooting, a headlamp can be indispensable. Yes your camera may have a lighted display of some kind, but you still need to be able to see the buttons and the levers on your tripod and that kind of thing.
So a good headlamp is a very good tool. If you're carrying a lot of external drives and other devices, a little USB hub can be really handy. I really like these. This is the Dr. Bott T3. So this plugs in to my computer and on this end I've got three USB ports. Now this not a powered hub, so it's not going to be able to run necessarily all of your devices that take USB power, but for getting in a hard drive and say a card reader, this can be a really easy way of managing a lot of devices in your computer at one time.
If you're taking an iPhone or an iPad with you and you've loaded up with movies and you've been watching them on those little screens but you're in a hotel room, it has a nice big TV in it, you might want to consider having one of these handy. I plug this into my iPhone or iPad and these things into the TV and I can watch my movie on the TV. There is also an HDMI version of this. This doesn't take up a lot of space; it's a handy thing to have around if you've got movies on one of those devices and you know you're going to be in a hotel room. Now this may sound a little strange, but I never go anywhere without a photo printer, and here's one now.
This is a nice little, tiny 2 x 3 inch printer. It prints on these little bits of special Polaroid Zink paper. It's not actually made out of zinc. That's just a little name for it. 2×3 inches, peel-off back, so these are actually stickers if you want them to be. The print quality is so-so, but it's pretty fun to be sitting out in the middle of nowhere and cranking out little prints and you can stick them on postcards and things and mail them off. It attaches via USB to your computer. With some phones you can use a Bluetooth connection and print directly from the phone to the computer, so that's pretty fun.
Again, if you've got an iPod or an iPad with you, if you got a friend with you, you may want to think about one of these: this is a headphone splitter. You could both listen this is great if you're stuck on an airplane together. If you're going to rent a car, most rental cars nowadays have an auxiliary input to their stereo and there may be a little mini-plug somewhere that you can plug your device into, so I always take a mini-to-mini cable with me. And when I get in a rental car I can dig around. Sometimes they're hidden in the little compartment and that's between the seats. Look for one, and then you can plug your phone, or your iPad, iPad, or you're iPod into the car stereo.
Again if you're traveling with an iPod and you want to be able to hear your music or any other kind of small mp3 player, this is an iMainGo. That's I-M-A-I-N-G-O, a set of speakers. I really like these speakers. They sound great, they're rechargeable, they don't take up much space, and you can just stick the iPod right in the back there, or whatever mp3 player you use. Very good sound and they're not that expensive. These are only 40 or 50 bucks, so if they end up getting crushed or mangled or destroyed, you're not out too much money. Finally, you've got to have a place to put all of this stuff. I use this little Eagle Creek bags. I think they are very flexible and I can cram a lot of stuff into them and I can carry a lot of them inside of a bigger bag.
They stretch pretty well. You just get your stuff in there and zip it all up. It's really worth having some kind of smaller management inside your larger bag, particularly when you're in a hurry. If you're trying to get to a piece of gear to get a shot in a scene that's unfolding quickly, it's good to have your stuff as organized as possible. So those are just some extra little bits that may want to throw in, depending on how much you're willing to carry. One great thing about this category of stuff is as your gears get too heavy, this is where you start jettisoning things. You go, I don't need sensor cleaning, I don't need the speakers, and so on and so forth. Next problem is how do you power all this stuff, and we're going to talk about that in the next lesson.
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